B.C. First Nations groups eye equity stake in Trans Mountain oil pipeline

July 22 is a deadline Trudeau has for a smooth sale of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline. That deadline on Sunday is likely set to pass, meaning Canada will officially become pipeline owners.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t a potential buyer however — First Nations groups in B.C. are joining together to become a potential suitor.  

First Nation groups eye purchase of Trans Mountain Oil Pipeline

That may come as a surprise to many like GreenPeace that assume ALL First Nations oppose the Pipeline. 

There are allegedly about a dozen parties interested in the Trans Mountain oil pipeline, but the Canadian government won’t reach a deal to flip it before a deadline with Kinder Morgan Inc. closes Sunday, according to many close to the situation. 

The Canada government’s $4.5 billion  purchase of the pipeline and subsequent expansion project included a six-week window, to July 22, to jointly sell to a third party. 

The deal as it stands now will be finalized with the Federal government as the new owner, and if it doesn’t decide to hold onto it, it will have to find a buyer without any help from Kinder Morgan. Not to mention fears of legal delays, more protests, and a slew of construction questions. 

Many in the know, assume that it is likely to end up being bought by a type of Canadian-led consortium, as opposed to a single buyer. – Think Canada Pension Fund, Ontario Teachers Union.. or Saskatchewan Roughriders… (That 3rd one might not be a good example, but they are community owned)

Whispering Pines First Nation chief Michael LeBourdais said two major Canadian banks approached First Nations in March or April of this year to fund purchase from Trudeau government.

 

LeBourdais said he has had discussions with as many as 27 First Nations along the pipeline route, the majority of them in B.C., including in the Fraser Valley, along the Coquihalla Highway, in the North Thompson region and into Edmonton.

There are already about 33 First Nations in B.C. and another 10 in Alberta who have signed mutual benefit agreements for the project. – Estimated at $400 million in ‘benefits’

LeBourdais said buying a stake in the pipeline is the best way to get First Nation support – By taking control of the pipeline and taking responsibility for environmental oversight.

“The best way for those who are worried about the environment is to have control over the thing you fear,” said LeBourdais.

Fair enough.

It’s about what works best for your community, your economy, and your environment. As many are starting to understand. It’s not one or the other. 

It’s not the first time First Nations groups are buying shares in oilsands projects for the benefit of the community. 

Last year, Fort McKay and the Mikisew raised $545 million to acquire a 49 per cent stake in Suncor Energy’s oilsands storage facilities north of Fort McMurray.

Communities are taking ownership stakes in projects in the back yard. They see the economic value, and the understanding that you can have a better say in the safety and security of the projects when you own a piece of it. 

The deadline on Sunday July 22 is likely going to pass, meaning Canadians from Coast to Coast will officially be owners of a multi-billion dollar pipeline project. Let’s make sure it works well, safely,  and benefits Canadians.. Because as Trudeau put it back in April.. 

Happy First Nation Friday!

Cheers!

Kelly. 

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